SAT undergoes modernization



After decades of traditional hand-written exams, the College Board announced its conversion of the SAT to an online format in 2024.

Additionally, the exam will now allow the usage of calculators on the entirety of the math section, send results much faster and be approximately an hour shorter. The new assessment will also include shorter reading passages with fewer questions and an adaptive testing system that will automatically adjust each question’s difficulty according to real-time test results.

The College Board was prompted to experiment with the new format after racial criticism of the exam. More specifically, critics commented that the test favored wealthy white students and put lower income and minority students at a disadvantage. It was first experimented with internationally and introduced to the United States in November.

“While there is definitely evidence for [a] potential bias, we have to consider it in the context of the academic world as a whole,” senior Akash George said via Instagram. “I would argue that the SAT is actually less biased than [GPA, AP scores, letters of recommendation, or extracurriculars] used by colleges if anything.”

Despite this controversy, the exam’s digitalization has brought forth a wave of uncertainty among Diamond Bar High School students. 

“I feel like it is unfair to the students [who] have to take the SAT online, as it is a new platform of taking it and it can be difficult to prepare for,” freshman Kavya Nair said via Messenger. “As the SAT is going to be online, it creates a wall of uncertainty between people taking it.”

However, with colleges placing less emphasis on the SAT and other standardized tests, some think that the assessment’s relevance may soon wither as colleges begin to shift their focus on other aspects of students’ application.

“I think their relative importance in the college admissions process will decrease because [the SAT] covers less content and will not be as reflective of a student’s academic ability,” George said. 

As somebody who took the SAT last year, George said he felt the changes to be made could not only affect students’ studying habits in college, but also deny admission offices a clear median to consider students upon.

“I don’t think [digitalization is] a great move because it likely diminishes the SAT’s ability to accurately predict a student’s preparation and potential for collegiate success,” George said. “At the end of the day, the SAT is an attempt to predict future potential so maintaining rigor is essential.”